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Support Services for Emotionally Impaired Special Needs Students: Autism, Tourette’s and Asperger Syndrome

Do you know a child with autism, Asperger Syndrome, Tourette’s Syndrome or other emotional impairment? Special needs children require special assistance and understanding. If you or someone you love has autism, Asperger Syndrome or Tourette’s Syndrome, they need and are entitled to special services. Whether you parent, teach or care for a special needs child with autism, Asperger or Tourette’s you need and deserve support and help.

Knowledge is power and also builds compassion. Sadly, the autistic, Asperger or Tourette’s Syndrome child is often ridiculed, wrongly disciplined or avoided. This is due to fear and misunderstanding. Autistic, Asperger and Tourette’s children usually talk different, act different and display emotions differently. Let’s explore ways to understand our autistic, Asperger and Tourette’s children. We will do this in the same way a scientist explores new data — by asking six fundamental questions.

WHAT: If you suspect that a child may have autism, Asperger or Tourette’s Syndrome, visit a pediatrician. What do these conditions look like? Discuss your concerns. Ask to be referred to a neurologist, psychologist or other specialist.

WHO: Now that we understand ‘what’ we consider special needs, we can consider ‘who’ — both who has special needs and who we can approach for help. When people study a special need, it is not uncommon to start looking for that special need in everyone that they know. (Your author did this, to the annoyance of the family!) But it is important to pay attention to signals. Here are several ways to identify signals:

- Know the family risks; are there conditions that ‘run in the family’?

- Know the family history; What is the home life like? It’s about awareness, not shame.

- Watch the child’s development and behavior.

- Ask pediatricians and family practice nurses, health department officials, and the child’s teacher or care-giver. Use the internet to ask questions. Check out the resources at the end of the article.

When? It is never to early to explore concerns, especially when it is your own child. Genetic counseling can help you prepare for issues based on your family history. If you have concerns, don’t panic. Do ask and read and research until you get the answers that you need.

Where? Talk to professionals. Get specific information about your child’s condition. DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is a huge compendium of detailed information. Read literature published by respected sources. Check internet resources. Connect with other parents whose children have similar conditions. Seek out a support group from the websites listed. Talk with teachers and school officials. Schools get special funding to help special needs children. The Family Independence Agency (FIA) are usually very good resources. You will need your physician’s verification of condition to receive special services. But if your child has a special need, you are entitled to assistance. Get all the help you can for your child and for yourself. You need and deserve it. If you have problems getting services, find care-givers who will help you. You are your child’s best advocate. I can’t overemphasize the need for a support group. If you can’t find one, start one.

Why? You can’t care for a special needs child alone and you shouldn’t have to. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help and take it.

Here are some internet resources to get you started.

National Autism Association

Tourette’s- Disorder

Asperger Syndrome

Support Group Directory

I wish you all the best for your special needs child.

Autism and child care.

The answer to that question is very few people indeed.  Watch the news a few times, and you will realzie that child predators are everywhere.  Children can not go to a store, a church, a school, a daycare, even in their own backyards, without there being a threat to them by some freak who you never saw coming.  You don’t see them, because they are waiting for you to be distracted.  They are hiding, either actually physically hiding, or hiding behind a facade of lies.  They plant themselves in places where children are.  They become priests, teachers, clowns, store clerks in toy stores, and they do everything possible not to be caught or noticed by anyone.  As if the predators are not bad enough to worry about, there are also those people who are just plain neglectful and or dangerous. You hear news reports about children who are drugged with over the counter drugs, locked in closets, not changed, or not fed, while in the care of daycare workers. 

Now of course there are daycare workers out there who are execptional wonderful people, that do above and beyond service for the children in their care, the trouble for parents of autistic children is, how will I know the truth, because my son can’t tell me.  When a child is preschool age, and has poor language skills, how is a parent suppose to know if thier child is in distress.  One of the most upsetting news reports I ever heard was one where a male predator, planted himself in a childcare setting for special needs children, knowing full well that they could not speak out about what he had planned for them.   

Not only do we have to worry about the adults, but the other children can also pose a threat.  If they are in a setting where they are mixed with non special needs children, there iare always worries about fitting in or bullying, and of course the danger from other special needs children may be that they just don’t realize that they are hurting other children with their words or actions. Again if this is the case, and your child only has a few words in his vocabulary how will you know what they are going through. 

So who do you trust?  Only those people in your life that are very close to you and you know beyond a doubt would never hurt your child.  This really limits your possibilities.  Yes, you may be able to trust your child with a sibling, or your parents, but often times siblings, have jobs and children of their own to worry about, and grandparents, no matter how much they love their grandchild, are often times to sick, or weak to  take care of a very hyper autistic child. So what option is left.  YOU! that’s it just you. 

This is why so many families with special needs children are under financial stress.  Because at least one of the parents needs to stay home to work with and protect their child, this leaves the burden of providing for the family for the other spouse. If you are lucky these days, you have a job with insurance, (so many families do not have insurance), yet there are still a lot of medical bills, related to therapy for the special needs child that also add to the financila stress. 

In our area we have a religious facility that will allow you to leave your child there and leave with no questions asked and no pay required, the catch is that the child must be left there at least twenty-four hours.  That means he would have to stay over night.  Of course as a parent the whole, he has to sleep there thing, throws up red flags.  You think to youself who in the world would ever do that.   You don’t know anything about the people who are working there, so how could a parent trust them.  Yet they exist, so there must be a need for them.  Parents of special needs children, must be finding themselves with a need to have their children watched at no cost, or else how could the facility justify staying open.  Scarry.  I pray I am never that desperate for help.  I am grateful to know if there ever was a need I would have a place to work with, but I can only imagine ever useing this place if both my spouse and I were say hospitalized or something unforseen, upreventable, and unable to be planned for.

If you have a special needs child, I hope you have a care arrangement that you are comfortable with.  It is a terrible realization that sometimes children left with the most trusted person, are often subjected to neglect or abuse. We can only do the best we can do.  We can’t be expected to forsee everything, or live without needing to trust someone.  Good luck with everything!